Fear only fear itself. (#199) –Robert M. Shelby, 8-1-13. [723 txt wds]

Our country, and thanks to us the whole western world, seems consumed with fear. After the Cold War, we remain irrationally defensive. Fear in various forms, from multiple causes and excuses, foists on us the most massively over-developed military organization ever to exist on earth, both relatively and absolutely. Why? Topping that is the ponderous Homeland Security establishment and paranoia-inspired NSA meta-data mining of telephone communications and invasion of internet activity.

After 9-11, how can defensiveness and wish for security be called irrational? It is far beyond reason to over-react the way our powerful elites have done. They mutually fuel anxious activity among themselves, forming a bubble of alienation from realms of reality and good sense. Steeped in worst case scenarios, fear rules their perception. While it is responsible to consider and prepare for worst cases, one must beware that one’s own preparatory stance and measures do not themselves become the worst case. There are “reasons” for which putatively responsible persons filter their own motives poorly, making possible and valuable the acts of heroically “disloyal” whistle-blowers. One need also beware of personal advancement getting conflated with public service.

The trouble with institutional activity is that it becomes structurally self-advancing and self-perpetuating. (Obama himself is good hearted and decently-motivated, but “it’s lonely in that crowd at the top,” a swamp of hard characters pulling him down and to the “Right.”) People get jobs in organized agencies from which they make a living and in which they hope to gain personal security and career advancement. Inevitably, these agencies take on life of their own, automaton-like. The motto is, as with all life, grow or die. “Our office must be seen as important enough to be perpetuated and hold on to funding and quality work-space.” These robots, however intelligent and “intelligence generating” they may be, become factors toward irrational motivation.

There are two sources of western anxiety. The first is endemic to the owning and top managerial class. Extremely wealthy people sense the instability of great height. Any infant is hard-wired to be alarmed by falling. A sense of guilt can attach to vast ownership, adding to anxiety. Great distance above the common folk is historically risky. The greatest fear in poet Wallace Steven’s life was that of poverty, for which he opted for a life in the insurance management world, as against the literary life of an academic poet. This may have made his frequent escapes into poetry writing more intensely productive, but my point is Steven’s deep fearfulness. My father had the same fear which led him to avoid risks, for which I am grateful, but may have cast his life needlessly into a poverty deeper than financial. He found outlet in woodworking and, like Stevens, annual travels. Our wealthiest people and corporate heads, however they relieve their anxieties and stresses are inordinately concerned with security, hence their wild financial contrivances that seek to assure investors against loss, at the world’s cost.

The second source of anxiety bids to become mass panic. This is the fear engendered in the world’s thinking people about the conditions blindly and selfishly generated by the corporate-wealth class that threatens planetary life support and human future. The greatest distraction from this fundamental reality is hyper-concern with enemies without and within. The inflated Military-Industrial-Financial Complex has become so myopically fixated on its own role and needs as to lose sight of deeper threats to the biosphere than that provided by scattered cells of a minuscule Al Qaeda. Such abjectly fearful defensiveness would require us to accept ever-increased fracking for natural gas, more extensive coal mining, deeper oil wells in the Gulf, Atlantic and opening the Arctic Ocean and West Coast to destruction. The oil companies, in concert with the Money Complex, naturally hound government and the public to accept tar-sands extraction. There can be no worse, long-term threat to life, second only to scores of atomic blasts.

Remoras are blood-sucking pests, but sharks and whales do not go crazy because of the irritation they provide. Our inflated Power Complex, unfortunately, is still hugely and blindly crazy about drugs. They really love to hate them. Drugs contribute directly to its power base almost as much as do wars on drugs and terror. Wars generate big anxiety. Anxiety more than courage sustains the status-quo.


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